Network Security Checklist for Small Businesses in Northern Virginia – Pt 1

Small Business Network Security Checklist

the best managed it services in washington dcAs technology advances, so too does the power of a small business. With a small team and a single location, you can reach thousands of customers and even build a nation-wide customer base. With software and platforms, you can handle the vast data of digital marketing, customer accounts, and copious orders. With logistics partners, you can ship out those orders across the continent or even across the globe.

However, all of this hinges on a robust small business network and the security that protects it. Small business network security has never been more important. In a landscape of cybersecurity threats, protecting your network is protecting your ability to do business and defend the trust of your growing customer community.

How can you ensure that your Northern Virginia small business network is secure? Start with this comprehensive network security checklist.

Assessing Your Network Security

Every complete security strategy begins with an assessment. Security assessments use both automation and penetration testing to determine any existing weaknesses or flaws in your current network or software infrastructure. This process will identify any element of your network that could provide an opening for known digital threats.

This assessment will provide you with a network security checklist of issues to resolve and areas where your network could be stronger. 

Potential items on the checklist include:

Firewall and Router Configuration

Your firewall and router configurations are what determine the network traffic that may enter and leave your business network. Both should be configured to permit only activities that are part of the routine operation of your business, and nothing else. This leaves no unused doors into your network or unmonitored ways for data to leave.

Routers should close off any ports that your operations do not use, and only open some ports for approved applications at approved times. Your router configurations can also limit internal network activity, setting some endpoints to ‘read only’ cutting some endpoints off from certain routes, or shutting off access during certain times of day for even greater security.

Firewalls can control activity on specific devices and routers. They can stop all but approved applications from accessing either internal resources or reaching out to internet sources. They can prevent unknown browsers from operating and prevent the use of unauthorized applications when properly configured.

 Software Updates and Patch Management

It is important to keep all the software used by your small business up to date. As new malware, exploits, and hacker techniques are discovered, developer teams will release updates to ensure their programs are not exposed to these threats. Participating in every update and installing each optional security patch will ensure that your tech stack is as secure as it can be against the latest threats.

Employee Training and Awareness

It is also important to train employees in cybersecurity and threat awareness. Password security training can help employees make stronger passwords, while general data security training will help them use the right tools and protocols to avoid exposing secure data through open channels like email or social media.

Employees should also be trained to identify social hacking or “phishing”, which is a type of scam designed to trick employees into clicking infected links or taking actions that will create a data security risk. Using phishing drills, you can help keep your team on their toes, and they will gladly remain vigilant if you also provide rewards for those who successfully flag and report the phony phishing messages sent by your IT team.

[Part 2 Coming Soon]